Despite making multiple requests to the Centre to be exempted from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), the Tamil Nadu government has found no relief, as the Supreme Court ruled against its favour.
Before the NEET was introduced, admissions to medical colleges in the state occurred solely on the basis of the Class 12 exam results.
People across the state staged violent protests against the score being requisite for medical admissions, and there were passionate pleas for exemption, but sadly, nothing came out of it.
Now, aspirants have a new dilemma in the form of exam centre allocations.
The Madras High Court had directed the CBSE to set up additional exam centres to accommodate all students, but the Apex Court stayed the order. As a result, as many as 1500 students from Tamil Nadu, many of whom belong to rural regions in the state, have been allotted centres in other states, including Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan.
This has led to a state of worry among parents and students, as they need to book tickets at the last minute, which will be an expensive affair, in addition to finding accommodation in a foreign city.
In a poignant act of solidarity and kindness, Tamil citizens across the country have come forward with monetary and even travel assistance for those students and families who will be unable afford tickets or accommodation. Even the state government has offered an amount of ₹1000 for travel and has launched a helpline for the same.
At the forefront of this magnanimous gesture is the Rajasthan Tamil Sangam, a 25-year-old Tamil association, that has volunteered not just to arrange transportation for candidates within the city, but also help them with any language issues.
“Just this morning (Friday), we were discussing the issue and suddenly we thought why not try and help these students. Since it is a last minute plan, we are not completely prepared and don’t have everything sorted out, but we figured we could share our contacts so people can call and accordingly we can figure out how to help,” said Dr Soundaranayaki, a member of the Sangam, to Edex Live.
At the same time, Dr Manoharan, who resides in Kollam, is offering city-based guidance to the students, and will also look for accommodations for them. Sadly, the latter hasn’t progressed much as most hotels in the city have already been booked.
Dinesh Kumar D, a resident of Erode, who is based in Dubai, has offered to provide financial support to the needy students.
“The Anita incident impacted me on a personal level, and I don’t want something like this to happen again. I am not a rich man, but I wanted to help. Some of my friends have also offered monetary support, and we will transfer the money shortly,” he said.
Many people have also shared their mobile numbers across social media platforms, to help out the students.
We would love to sponsor travel expenses for atleast 5 underprevilleged students or Govt school students appearing for #NEET this year. Inbox me the details like hall ticket, place whr ur exam hall assigned will book the tickets for u. @News18TamilNadu
— Nagarjune Arjune (@ArjuneNagarjune) May 4, 2018
If you someone who are not able to pay the travel expenses on going to NEET exams in kerala feel free to contact me and my bro Sri Vasan we will do as much as we can..
— vijay (@vijayk2205) May 4, 2018
The solidarity and kindness on display is indeed heartening and reminds one of the outpouring of public support during the Chennai floods in 2015.
While we commend the timely intervention by these thoughtful folks, we also hope that all the students can give their best in the exam without worrying about these problems!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)